Luciano Berio

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Berio, Luciano

(lo͞ochä`nō bĕr`yō), 1925–2003, Italian composer, b. Oneglia. After studying at the Milan Conservatory and working as a coach and conductor in Italian opera houses, Berio was introduced in 1952 to serial musicserial music,
the body of compositions whose fundamental syntactical reference is a particular ordering (called series or row) of the twelve pitch classes—C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B—that constitute the equal-tempered scale.
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 by Luigi DallapiccolaDallapiccola, Luigi
, 1904–75, Italian composer, b. Pazan, Istria (now in Croatia). Dallapiccola was in a detention camp during World War I; because his wife was Jewish, he suffered persecution under Mussolini.
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, and a nondoctrinaire serialism subsequently pervaded his music. In 1954, he began working in electronic musicelectronic music
or electro-acoustic music,
term for compositions that utilize the capacities of electronic media for creating and altering sounds.

Initially, a distinction must be made between the technological development of electronic instruments and the
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 at Milan Radio with Bruno MadernaMaderna, Bruno
, 1920–73, Italian composer and conductor, b. Venice. Maderna studied composing with Gian Francesco Malipiero and conducting with Hermann Scherchen. As a conductor he introduced many avant-garde works to Italy.
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, and founded the Studio di Fonologia Musicale, an important electronic music center. Despite the uncompromising modernism of his innovative and analytically avant-garde compositions, their richly sensuous sound colorings and dramatic power made them popular with concert audiences.

Among Berio's many works are Sequenzas I–XIII (1957–94), each a virtuoso piece for a different solo instrument and one (1966) for the soprano voice; Circles, settings of poems of E. E. CummingsCummings, E. E.
(Edward Estlin Cummings), 1894–1962, American poet, b. Cambridge, Mass., grad. Harvard, 1915. His poetry, noted for its eccentricities of typography (notably the lack of capitalization), language, and punctuation, usually seeks to convey a joyful, living
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 for mezzo-soprano, harp, and percussion; several pieces with texts taken from James JoyceJoyce, James,
1882–1941, Irish novelist. Perhaps the most influential and significant novelist of the 20th cent., Joyce was a master of the English language, exploiting all of its resources.
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's work; Visage (1961), for electronically manipulated voice; Sinfonia (1968), for orchestra and voices; Opera (1970, rev. 1977), for mixed media; La vera storia (1982), an opera with acrobats and a wordless soprano; Ofanim (1988), for voices, instruments, and electronics; and two operas, Outis (1996) and Cronaca del Luogo (1999). In the late 1980s Berio, who was also an influential teacher, founded the Centro Tempo Reale, a Florence new music center for research, production, and training.